Protecting Your Property Through Wills and Tenancy in Common

Protecting Your Property Through Wills and Tenancy in Common

When we pass away, we usually want our children to inherit the properties we have worked to pay for during our adult lives. Many people are under the impression that this will automatically happen in the event of their death as long as they have a will which expressly wishes this to be the case, but unfortunately, there are several reasons why this won’t always happen.

For that reason, one of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your children or loved ones stand to inherit is to set up an agreement which names you as a Tenant in Common if you own a property with another person.

Why Would My Children Not Automatically Inherit My House?

When two people buy a house together, they usually immediately become Joint Tenants of that property, entitling them each to 100% ownership. If one partner happens to pass away, the other will automatically inherit the entirety of the house.

The issue arises when the surviving partner decides to remarry, as their new partner will then automatically obtain rights to that property which could see the children of the surviving partner or the intended beneficiaries of the house lose out.

What Are Tenants in Common?

Becoming Tenants in Common and changing the title on your property deeds will allow you to assign a percentage ownership between yourself and the person you own the property with. Each party is then able to protect this percentage and leave it in their will to the people they choose to as desired, as soon as the probate process is complete.

In the event of either partner dying, the surviving partner would only be entitled to the agreed percentage of the property with the remainder being protected for the intended beneficiaries.

Other Points for Consideration

There are several other reasons why specifying a Tenancy in Common is desirable which include;

* Protecting the asset against being used for care fees due to illness. The value of any property owned is considered before a Local Authority will provide help if either partner needs an element of care in old age.

* If the couple who own the property are unmarried, being Tenants in Common can reduce the amount of inheritance tax which will become due in the event of death.

A Tenancy in Common agreement has the ability to prevent your property being used to pay for care fees and is also an attractive way to limit the amount of inheritance tax your named beneficiaries will be liable to pay. Appointing powers of attorney could also provide a way for you to ensure that your assets are handled in accordance with your wishes should both you and your partner be approaching old age.

Discretionary Trusts

In addition, the formation of a Trust is another way to ensure that your assets are protected and ringfenced for those who you wish to benefit. A Discretionary Trust can be combined with both a will and with a Tenancy in Common agreement.

Review Your Tenancy Agreement

If you currently own a home with a partner you are married to or otherwise, we would suggest getting in touch with our team of professional consultants so that we can provide advice on your situation. To make use of our services, call Heritage Wills on 01603 894500 for more information or personalised advice.

A Guide to Setting Up Trusts to Protect Your Assets

A Guide to Setting Up Trusts to Protect Your Assets

Whilst most people are familiar with the process of writing wills so that their wishes can be expressed in the event of death, Trusts remain relatively uncommon even though they present many benefits and can be a great way to protect your assets and estate.

There are many reasons why it might be a good idea to consider the formation of a Trust, even if you feel as if the assets you are in possession of are minimal or if you believe that your will already fully represents your wishes.

What is A Trust?

A Trust is considered to be a way of actively managing a range of assets including money, property, land or other valuable assets. It is important to remember that there are several different types of Trust, all of which are taxed differently, making some more suitable than others depending on your requirements. Unlike a will which must proceed through probate after death, a Trust can be called into action immediately.

The two most common types of Trust include;

  • The Discretionary Trust – A common way to minimise inheritance tax by maximising the inheritance tax allowances of unmarried couples for the benefit of their intended beneficiaries.
  • The Lifetime Trust – A common way to transfer the ownership of assets to other entities whilst still maintaining control over them as well as the benefits they provide.

The Parties Involved

Trusts usually involve three parties who hold a specific title under the Trust. It is also possible for one individual to be named under several of these titles if required.

  • The settler is the individual who places assets into a Trust for the purpose of protection.
  • The trustee is the individual who manages the trust and the assets contained within it.
  • The beneficiary is the individual who stands to benefit from any assets contained within the Trust.

A Lifetime Trust for example would usually see one individual named as all three parties if they were attempting to minimise their tax liability whilst receiving an income or dividend payments.

Common Reasons for Setting Up a Trust

As mentioned, there are several other reasons why someone might wish to establish a Trust which include:

  • The control and protection of important family assets which need to remain within the family.
  • When a young member of the family has inherited a large sum of money but is incapable of handling their affairs.
  • When someone has been incapacitated and can no longer handle their affairs.
  • The passing on off assets to another party whilst still alive.
  • When someone is considered to be vulnerable due to disability or when someone under the age of 18 has experienced the death of a parent.

Establish Your Trust

Heritage Wills are well versed is establishing both Discretionary and Lifetime Trusts. We have the knowledge and expertise to advise further on these matters as well as to assist you in establishing powers of attorney if required. For further information, speak to a member of our team on 01603 894500 who will be to advise further on the different options available.

Donating to Charity Through the Use of Wills

Donating to Charity Through the Use of Wills

Many of us hold the work of charities and charitable organisations close to our hearts. It might be the case that we have directly benefited from the services they provide or simply acknowledge and admire the work they perform.

Leaving or donating money and other gifts to a charity in the event of death is a very popular option which many people choose to take advantage of. There are also several financial benefits to doing so which may make the decision easier.

The Process of Donating to Charity

If you don’t already have a will, this is great opportunity to communicate your wishes and to nominate the charity that you wish to benefit on your death. In the event that you already have a will, you will need to request an amendment with the entity who helped you to write it originally.

Depending on your charity of choice, they will usually recommend that you use a specific statement to express your desires to donate any assets to them in your will. This information is usually readily available on their website but if it isn’t, we would suggest contacting them personally or requesting your will writer to do so on your behalf.

It will also help to include the following information;

  • The full name of the charity to benefit from your donation.
  • The charity registration number of the charity in question as well as their registered address.
  • A merger clause in the event the charity you wish to donate to ceases to exist or has merged with another charity. In these instances, you can elect that a charity with similar values benefits instead.

Setting up Charitable Trusts

Another option is to establish a Trust in your name which is dedicated to carrying out charitable work on your behalf. As part of this process, you can directly gift assets to a charity of your choice or use the Trust as a vehicle for donations to a series of good causes.

Another option could involve appointing powers of attorney who can preside over your financial affairs and donate to charitable causes on your behalf.

The Tax Benefits of Donating to Charity

Donating money to a charity has the ability to reduce the overall inheritance tax liability of your estate, sometimes even eliminating it entirely. This works by;

  • Reducing the total taxable amount of your estate by ringfencing some of it as a donation. This donation will be tax free and will ensure that whatever is left over will incur less inheritance tax.
  • In addition, the rate of overall taxation can be reduced from 40% to 36% if you were to donate 10% of your net estate.

Once probate has begun and provided there are sufficient assets after debts and liabilities are paid, your donation will be made before the rest of the estate is divided up.

Further Advice on Nominating a Charity in Your Will

Tax law can be complicated so we would suggest seeking further advice on donating to charities through your will. To discuss this matter further, speak to Heritage Wills by calling us on 01603 894500 so that we can offer more personalised advice.

The Benefits of Using a Will Writing Service

The Benefits of Using a Will Writing Service 

Ensuring that your wishes have been documented and will be carried out in the event of your death is vital for everyone of adult age, regardless of your personal wealth or whether you consider yourself to be young or old. But what is also important is making sure that your will has been drafted in accordance with best practice guidelines, ensuring that there are no issues down the line when your estate enters into probate.

Rather than attempt to write your own will via a DIY service, making use of professional will writing services are always the better option, in turn providing you with the peace of mind that your will is both accurate and legally enforceable.

How a Will Writing Service Works

There are several options available to you when seeking the assistance in the drafting of a will. The most common include:

  • Attending a scheduled appointment at the offices of the company performing your will writing services.
  • Scheduling a home visit where a qualified professional consultant will visit you at your home address at a time to suit you.
  • Online via the use of a portal where you will be requested to input vital information regarding your personal circumstances which will then be interpreted and formed into a will.
  • Via the use of postal forms which will be sent to you for completion. Once returned, the information included on these forms will form the basis of your will.

We would always suggest making use of face to face service which is the best opportunity to make sure that your wishes are accurately communicated. When a professional will writing consultant visits your home, they will ask you a number of questions including:

  • Who you would like to nominate as your executor.
  • The total of your assets to be administered under the will.
  • Who you would like to benefit under your will as well as how and to what proportions.
  • Whether you would like to appoint powers of attorney.

Once your will has been finalised and approved, you can then request to have it stored safely on your behalf.

The Advantages

The benefits of transferring the responsibility of drafting your will to a specialist has many benefits which include;

  • Companies experienced in writing wills will usually provide you with a very quick turnaround, often no more than 4 to 6 weeks from the date of your initial consultation.
  • Costs are very competitive and are usually much cheaper than a solicitor. You will also find that costs are often fixed regardless of whether you are visited at home or you attend an appointment yourself.
  • In house legal teams will ensure that your will complies with the law and has been written following the appropriate guidelines.

Have your Personal Will Written on Your Behalf

Heritage Wills are experienced in the drafting and formation of wills for customers of all backgrounds, regardless of your personal circumstances. Whether you would like more information on Trusts or would like to schedule an appointment, you can speak to a member of our team on 01603 894500.